tv Mid-20th Century American Oil Interests CSPAN July 2, 2017 11:29am-12:46pm EDT
in other ways, they would not be surprised. i think they knew back during their expedition about how , important waterways are for the development of a country, and economy, and in part, that is why they were here. to go back and report to president jefferson about the opportunities for trade and transportation in this part of the world. i think they would be proud that some of their findings have turned out to be true. our cities tour's staff recently traveled to portland, oregon, to learn about its rich history. learn more about portland and other stops on our tour at www.c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend every , weekend on c-span3. >> on "lectures in history," university of notre dame
professor darren dochuk teaches a class about mid-20th century oil interests. he describes the expansion of -- he describes the east texas oil boom and the expansion of u.s. oil businesses abroad to places like saudi arabia and alberta, canada. he argues that religion played a significant role in the worldview and business practices of global companies and individual prospectors. this class is one hour and 15 minutes. prof. dochuk: good morning. welcome back from spring break and welcome back to our history of oil in american life. today we are going to look at a critical phase between the 1930's and 1950's. a moment in which some important turns take place in the life of american oil. two sectors we have been looking at, major oil and independent
oil. this is a period in which the nation itself is kind of awakened to a new role in global politics. in 1941, it was famously stated that the u.s. was entering a new era of global leadership. it was the american century dawning in the early 1940's and playing out during world war ii. we are going to look at how oil combined with religion helped create competing visions of american authority on a global stage. prior to this point, if you recall prior to spring break, we , had been spending time in the interwar period, looking at oil
and some of these scandals that emerged, related to the teapot dome scandal. we looked also, at the competition of corporate and labor politics at the time, challenges that arise from surplus in terms of regulation of oil. and what that means for government regulation. we see an interwar period, u.s. oil is going through fits and starts and difficult circumstances. nevertheless, as we are proceeding today, we will see that despite the fits and starts, the u.s. sees its oil initiatives expanding rapidly. that will accelerate into the 1940's. i gave you an outline just so you are able to follow along.
on the back, just some framing questions to consider. these are questions we can use to help guide discussion on wednesday, which we will use to follow-up the lecture today, first being how and why did matters politics and people of faith become essential to the development of american oil in the mid-20th century? what were the competing visions of the nation's oil and the nation itself that came to define the petroleum sector at this crucial juncture? how did the politics of oils' warring sectors create the role of the u.s. in the world, and to toward -- and toward what ends did this competition play out, both short-term and by the end of class hopefully you are able to anticipate long-term trends as well. you will be introduced -- we have come across some of these names before, so they should be familiar. quite a few others will be new
to you. i did list a cast of characters just to help us follow along. as you see from the outline, i'm going to proceed in three parts. first, get a glimpse of american power brokers circa 1940 and 1941. get a sense of how power brokers in both sectors are starting to envision themselves and their particular sectors, independent or major in relation to emerging , geopolitics on an international scale. in that regard, we will start back in the 1930's, which again we glimpsed at briefly, but we will dig down a little deeper before we move back into the 1940's. the second section will focus on a few political pivots that play out between the independents, the wildcatters, as we will call
them, and major oil in the 1940's. some of these will play out in washington, questions of regulation being front and center. but also the very likelihood of -- livelihood of independent oil as it sees itself threatened by the possible combination of federal government and major oil interests abroad. i want to spend the rest of the class, the third section, pausing to look at the ground level of two important initiatives. one undertaken by aramco and major oil in saudi arabia, and the second transpiring at the same time in alberta, canada, where independents are starting to look for their own domestic frontiers. okay, so let's start in that important moment of the early
world war ii years. as we discussed in previous classes and throughout, we are interested in oil not simply as material, not simply as a fuel for lubricant for economic interest, but we are doing our best to look at this in interdisciplinary terms. it is oil as a culture itself. today again, framing and introducing religion into the narrative. oil has, from the very ,eginning, we have found persisted to have a mythological power in the american imagination. founded and discovered in the civil war period, it was seen from its beginnings as a mystical resource, something that could promise the nation healing after the civil war.
it had important notions of progress wrapped up in it, and in terms of modernity itself. not the only material to generate these kinds of ideas and fantasies. coal had a similar hold on the british citizens in the 19th century, and also on americans as well. oil was always seen as particularly sacred. in part because it was difficult to locate and to grasp and to take control of. it was always seen as uniquely supernatural in its abilities to generate hopes and dreams of the future both for individuals and , the nation itself. a quote in a magazine in 1900 expresses this well. "everywhere american oil is to be met with in the orient, in
-- it lights temples in the mosques, the holy sepulcher in jerusalem, and it has penetrated china and japan, reached the wilds of australia and shed its radiance over many a dark african waste. american petroleum is the true cosmopolite, omnipresent in its mission of elightening the whole universe." this is the overarching narrative that we have been tracking. that narrative intensified by 1940 as it becomes an impetus for american expansion, certainly in terms of its leadership around the globe. this returns us to henry luce. henry luce was a very powerful publisher in the 1940's, in charge of a number of important magazines. life, time magazine.
in 1941 in february, he used the pages of life magazine to beseech fellow citizens to create the first great american century, again, his term. what many people don't realize is that he delivered this speech a month earlier at the american petroleum institute. there, as you see quoted before you, it celebrated the work that oilmen had been doing up to the point to demonstrate the frontier initiative, and to continue that on an even greater stage in the years forward. having within you a dynamic spirit of freedom and a genius for corporation and organization, it follows inevitably that you do not stop
at the frontier of mountains or sea or jungle, nor at the man-made frontiers of knowledge or tradition or hope. i salute you. luce wrapped up in this narrative of both american exceptionalism, but also the role that oil will play in that. oil is considered a pillar of american exceptionalism going forward. this is going to be the key to the rise of the american century. it is important to see how he views religion as well as a twin column of this foundation. for luce, petroleum is a limitless power that has the capacity to transform the world into something godlier and something good. oil, it's peculiar burden to
them fume international investment with the u.s. at the head. scholars have really connected oil to luce's charge as framing an american century. we can fold religion into this story as well. which is what we are going to do. luce's aspirations mirrored those of an entire cohort of corporate, church, and state visionaries who believe that a petroleum fueled christian democracy, that big religion, ecumenical, internationalist in its persuasion, integrated with -- wedded to big oil integrated , with the state, could guarantee this nation's postwar influence. why were they so committed to this vision? their outreach on behalf of of
what i will call a civil religion of crude was designed to steer the u.s. out of several crises that emerged in the 20th century. we have become aware of some of these. first of all because of the chaos of america's latest boom in east texas, which we will return to u.s. production was , woefully inefficient. pools were draining to quickly -- draining much too quickly and pricing was incredibly volatile. these powerbrokers that envisioned oil on a world stage are wary of what is going on in east texas. as much as texas tea refineries or cap -- texas tea kept refineries busy, it was not going to be enough to supply this dawning hydrocarbon age in america, a freeway society where everyone wants an automobile to drive to their suburban homes.
more fuel is needed. these powerbrokers will start looking abroad in earnest. this is something that has been happening up to this point and really in the mid-40's it becomes much more urgent. as oil strategists look ahead, they feel that the depletion of reserves was approaching peak oil. we talk about this concept it , becomes well articulated in the 1950's when a geologist frames the theory of peak oil, saying that american oil reserves were going to collapse by 1970, forcing the country into a difficult situation. this kind of apocalyptic fear of american losing its oil sources going to drive exploration abroad. driven by fear but also
optimism. the so-called seven sisters pictured on the top right, which included five major u.s. oil companies, texaco, gulf, standard oil of california, chevron, exxon, and standard new york, mobil. they all turned their attention, increasingly so. again this is a process of , global exploration that started in the late 19th century but takes on a new urgency, whether it is south america, asia, and especially the middle east and saudi arabia. there were many in business and government, a whole cohort of powerbrokers, those that were in publishing, those that were in washington, those that were ceos and leading executives of these companies. those who were liaisons and , severalfor major oil
of them, some of the most influential really share luce's vision for expanding american influence abroad. you have encountered harold ickes before. can someone tell me who he was? >> he was the secretary of the interior under fdr. prof. dochuk: what was he like? what was he known for? what were his politics? >> he was concerned over the teapot dome scandal and wanted to have police over the oil industry. prof. dochuk: so interest in regulating. he was not only appointed secretary of the interior, but also the oil czar of the roosevelt administration.
someone who wants to work to bring the federal government to bear not just on leading oil, but in many ways, he wants to partner with oil companies. not so much a charismatic figure as henry luce might be, but buys into this vision of big oil and an expanded federal state partnering on an international stage. others of course are going to partner as well and help frame the initiative of the civil religion of crude. most importantly we can look to , the rockefeller family, especially john d rockefeller junior. have talked a lot about rockefeller senior, have not much time on junior yet. it is junior that obviously takes over the family business after world war i. but he recognizes quite early on
that his is not a gift for management. how do you follow in your father's footsteps in this case? john d rockefeller, and this is when standard is being broken up as well into many parts. rockefeller junior channels his energies, as well as funds into philanthropy. this is going to become his most important element. -- important outlet. he will support traditional missionaries. he is a very devout baptist like his father. he will help fund missionaries in asia, including the luce family in which henry luce grew up on a mission field in china. there is a very natural connection. rockefeller junior is also going to look at funding the federal council of churches, will serve
on the council of foreign relations. all of which is to say he has this internationalist vision. it is still very much religious in his case, but he is also wanting to expand philanthropy into a more secular scientific realm. health for instance, improving technology, looking to develop undeveloped countries as he sees them, and modernize them. it is how does religious vision -- this is a way in which this religious vision combined with politics and philanthropy will comply their vision of oil going forward. you see some of this illustrated in some of the standard oil magazines. lamp being the magazine for exxon standard new jersey, meant to keep its stockholders and
employees informed when it comes to what the company is doing. several images emphasizing the humanitarian work being done as well. oil not simply as an economic interest -- certainly it is, driving this corporation -- but there is a sense of it being promoted by the company in line with the rockefeller's vision of using this wealth and material to extend modern democracy on a global stage. this vision is aided in 1940 when the rockefeller brothers fund is established. with the third generation standing, that is john jr., the 5 sons standing with their father, and through this agency we will see rockefeller philanthropy extend it each into
all of these different types of programs. much more so than their father, into more large-scale development projects that will be more secular in their outlook, but not necessarily or never entirely drained of this religious impulse, this spirit of international service. nelson rockefeller, pictured on the top right, certainly the most influential politically of the rockefeller sons. he will be working in south america, making plans of development with the american government's own efforts to promote growth in some of the poorer areas of south america. this is also playing out in a cold war context. nelson rockefeller and american generals worried about communism making its way into regions of central and south america.
their charge is to create potentials for christian american democracy in those regions before communists can get in. there is fear of anti-colonial sympathies, of nationalist fervor taking over this internationalist vision. there is a political worry that is driving the rockefellers forward. nevertheless i want to emphasize the way they are acting out of a sincerity of purpose passed down to them from their father, and ultimately from their grandfather. this vision is really articulated well by william eddy become -- haso quite a typical profile in terms powerbrokers we are going to continue to encounter in the next few minutes.
pictured above, he someone who -- he is someone who grow up as the son of missionaries. this is a common theme. missionaries are playing an important role in establishing a second generation of civil servants, who will not necessarily where their religion -- wear their religion on their sleeve, but see the power of christianity filtered through broader projects of modernization to transform the world. he grew up in beirut. his parents found an american university in beirut, which would be an important institution for missions, but training engineers and so forth in the business of oil. for a time he was president of hobart college, and in the 1940's, just as luce is articulating this vision of an american century, is giving
these talks. in which he says things like this. "you and i who believe in christendom are not doomed to weakness. we serve the only totalitarian king. we who follow christ needed to cover ourselves in tolerance, charity, and wherever we walk we shall find ourselves standing on holy ground." again, a very clear indication of his faith in a broadly inclusive internationalist christian democracy. eddy will also be important, and as we will continue to discuss on wednesday, he is going to be influential in generating interest and facilitating american interest in saudi arabia. as we will look at on wednesday, saudi arabia in the 1930's becomes a field of american interest. in 1932, standard oil of california, which becomes
chevron, strikes oil in bahrain, and at the moment feels like there is much more to gain on the arabian peninsula as a whole. in 1933 it wins a concession from saudi arabia, allowing it to explore. tough going for the first 4 years or so until 1938, when its first major well comes in, indicating there is an expansive pool of oil in saudi arabia. as we enter the 1940's, he will -- eddie is going to become important as someone that can broker the relationship between saudi arabia and the roosevelt administration. you see evidence of that in 1945 aboard the uss quincy in the suez canal. he helps translate and act as a diplomat between the saudi king
and franklin d. roosevelt. again talking about a pressing issue of israel, the potential of an israeli state in the middle east is disconcerting to the king. but also nurturing a relationship that will allow this partnership in major oil to continue. eddy going forward will continue to act as a special envoy for the u.s. state department. this is the vision of luce, eddy, the rockefellers, and major oil. there is a parallel returning. there in the 1930's, just as saudi arabia is capturing the imagination of standard oil and others, back in the 4 poorest
counties of east texas, another boom occurs. this one will transform oil in two very important ways. this happens on the farm of daisy bradford, a revered christian woman. oil is struck in november of 1930's by columbus merriam, a self-styled prophet similar to the oil hunters we saw in our readings earlier about the late 19th century. those who use charismatic means of hunting for oil. they are called poor boys. they are not able to drill to -- drill to pay -- drill too deep. the best they can hope for is oil in shallow soil. they find that in east texas. the oil companies have brushed aside the potential of that.
it turns out to be a tremendous field. an oil lake 10 miles wide containing an estimated 5.5 billion barrels. largest discovered in the world at that point. saudi arabia will turn that equation on its head. 1/3 of all total oil produced in the u.s. and that time. -- that time. -- at that time. this is a massive field. thanks to methods that are not necessarily seen as scientific, it proves that even the poorest wildcatters can make it. this oil boom on a scale not witnessed before is the migration of wildcatters, small producers and drillers, and a whole host of workers, from roughnecks to the service industry, to barmaids and
prostitutes, they all do send -- all descend upon east texas. in places like longview, texas, the picture below is a forest of derricks, which is typical in -- which is a typical visual in any boom. longview, texas for instance, one of the most important towns in this region. it triples in size very easily. it also transforms labor. this is the depression. the east texas field will be in operation through the entire heart of the 1930's. really an anomaly compared to what is going on everywhere else. workers are pouring into this region. living standards will change as a result. there are plenty of statistics we can offer. one here in 1930, 60 7% of area
-- 67% of area residents are farmers. within a decade, 30% only are farmers. land values are climbing. people are leasing out their land for drilling or finding ways to enter the oil industry. this is transforming east texas. it is also transforming independent oil. the life of a small producer takes on new proportions in the 1930's. drawing religion into this, we see the ways in which oil and religion together create this new wildcat spirit of christianity, which we have touched upon elsewhere. we talked a bit about pentecostalism, and the differences between that and some of the other kind of denominations. this kind of pentecostal ethic, emphasis on spectacular and the supernatural -- how do you explain this oil boom?
this is magical. it is made sense of, we see locals embracing the mysteries of all of this. their faith in the spectacular and supernatural, in a god that operates in mysterious ways, takes root in east texas. so does an emphasis on wealth. it is what we will call a more recent days a prosperity gospel. makes sense when you have new, abundant wealth all around you. and when you have danger all around you. well andes that full also the importance of health and healing, for instance. this too becomes part of the prosperity gospel. an emphasis on temporality and expectation. we talked about eschatology briefly. we're not going to dig back into
that. suffice to say, the oil boom seems to say that what god gives us now we need to enjoy now, drill while the drilling is good because it will run out. it creates a certain kind of crisis worldview, very familiar to the small producer. and through all of this danger, the burdens and expectations of this time, an emphasis on family values. this notion that oil, properly managed, and the wealth that comes with this, can benefit the community and families. this is a theology that emerges in east texas and it will become important to the wildcat faith. we also see the cult of the wildcatters. hl hunt is some of the most important independent producers .
would've gotten their origin in east texas. also, spectacular church growth. that visual showing all the ways in which churches participate in the oil boom and benefit from it. these are the poorest churches, turned the richest in their denominations, virtually overnight. what comes with this also again is the reinforcement of the democratic nature of wildcat oil, independent oil. ida tarbell spoke about this in regards to her father. the first generation were all wildcatters and they saw oil as the purest capitalist form. one mail with frontier initiative to go out and find oil and achieve riches on his terms. in east texas, we see this democratic promise for these small producers in the region. now again caution here is important. the range and the extent of the
democratic comparative in the be is always going to flawed. wildcatting will very much remain a white man's game. if you are not white or male, typically you are going to find yourself in third tier work, at best, digging pipeline trenches and so forth. in no way does this east texas boom eradicate jim crow racism. in no way does it equalize the entire labor force of oil. nevertheless, there are enough examples of people, even the most marginalized racially, class, striking oil and finding ways to uplift their own status and to uplift their own communities. the dream is mythological, but not entirely irrational.
there is a logic of social uplift that comes along with this. jake simmons, pictured below, is really one of the most famous cases. he is an african-american wildcatter, the first we see in east texas. very quickly he buys of leases from area black churches and individuals and neighbors living in this area. in exchange, he promises them the returns. he also offers them an opportunity to move back to oklahoma, where he is based. he sees oklahoma as slightly more inclusive than east texas. several african-american families will move back with him to oklahoma in the 1930's. this is someone who learned at the tuskegee institute. he was a protege of booker t. washington. hopefully that name rings a bell from your survey history classes. booker t. washington believed
that african-americans, were they to do well in the marketplace, could uplift their entire class. the faith in entrepreneurialism as a way to improve their own racial standing. this is what jake simmons sees. and he will become an incredibly rich oilman in his own right in the post-world war ii period. he is in fact going to help open up nigeria to american oil exploration. evidence again of this democratic promise living itself out. there is also a spirit of rebellion. there is a certain kind of theology that grows up in this period, on this soil. there is also a new political initiative that takes root at this time. continuing on the politics of the independent oil producer. this is going to accelerate in the 1930's. as major oil is coming abroad,
east texas producers are going to marshal their own politics of dissent against people like carol wikis and the the roosevelt administration. most important of this new, emerging spirit of rebellion is j howard pew. as you see him pictured on the top left, he was once known to joke he not only talks like an affidavit, he looks like one. this is a very serious fellow here. very intense and devout presbyterian, conservative presbyterian. he is committed to an assortment of conservative religious, economic, political causes. he takes it very seriously. he comes to this honestly. his own father was one of the small oilmen who was driven almost to bankruptcy by john d rockefeller senior in the late 19th century.
j howard. pew has a chip on her shoulder, -- on his shoulder for very good reason. free enterprise needs rule. christianity is the driving force behind this. in the case of oil, it needs to be wildcatters who defined the spirit of american oil itself. sun oil company, is the pew family company. they will take on this spirit of rebellion and are going to come to capture the imagination of east texans in the 1930's. how are they going to do this? pew, sunoco, will not fire any employees during the depression. why? in part, because he was very smart. he did not invest in the stock market. when it crashed, the company had a whole lot of cash.
it was very unusual at this time. he was able to nurture the loyalties of east texas workers, through public relations, through something called welfare capitalism, as historians define it. that is by giving, providing benefits to your workers, you will maintain their loyalty. and really, discourage them from organizing and labor unions. sunoco will be very efficient in this through supporting local churches and oil associations, really combining the spirit of christianity, capitalism, and patriotism. making it the centerpiece of the east texas wildcat culture. take a minute to look at what we see evidenced here in sunoco's own company creed. something the pews articulated in this moment.
anything strike you as notable or odd? this is a company creed, something you would expect in a document of this sort today? >> it says under god, so they are like obviously bringing religion into their company, which today, they probably would not do. mr. dochuk: first line, under god. this is the pew family making it clear that they stand for a nation that believes in god. their corporation is going to
carry that spirit about it in its own work. anything else? any other notables? oil itself, right? the resources of the land. take on not just the material significance but a spiritual one too. this thing called oil the company is invested in, the company sees as something unique again to america's future, the very sustenance of the american soul. evidence of how j. howard pew, againevidence of how j. howard pew, along with others, will and inefficien and definitive te this mission for his company. also, if you look at the bottom, celebrating free enterprise. a very firm commitment to free enterprise is the essence of this. all right, so these are the two cultures that really emerge and
--ant to say to worldviews two worldviews, that in the 1940's, are going to clash. on one hand, you have major oil, the civil religion of crude, which sees the virtue of the large, integrated, multinational company working with governments to open up new foreign fields and in the process, have faith in modernity and nurturing economic development and democratic values on a global scale. on the other hand, you have independent, wildcat religion of crude, which sees the virtue of the small, independent producer integrated, if at all, only on a limited scale, working with local people and local associations, support of states to explore domestic fields, raising up and securing the privileges of the rugged, individualism amid this
globalization of the 1940's. so again just a little snapshot in terms of the second section of our outline. the petrol wars. we have seen in previous sessions, growing tensions between these two. this goes all the way back to dather tarbell's -- i tarbell's days. in the 1940's, there are a couple, a handful of important political pivots that really force these worldviews into conflict with important political consequences. the first one which we raised, we mentioned right before spring , anglo-american petroleum agreement. you remember our debate was very heated, very impassioned. an attempt by u.s. and british, with harold dickey forging an agreement for national petroleum
supply and demand through an international petroleum commission. j. howard pew, you will recall at the bottom, we did not really discuss him today, but we did get to him last time. ignatius o'shaughnessy. why is of shaughnessy -- o' shaughnessy famous? anyone, who is o'shaughnessy? >> one of the biggest benefactors to notre dame. mr. dochuk: good, you earned your gold today. we owe a lot to ignatius o'shaughnessy. in the fight over the anglo american agreement will join j. howard pew in fostering big -- and protesting this as fostering a cartel of the government and big oil. he is outspoken, using his own religious language to defend the politics of the independent oilman. he says, i do not need a nurse for my company and he does not want the government to play that
role. as a result, the proposal dies. you could chalk that up to the wildcatters. 1948 is an interesting moment, not necessarily tied to oil, not necessarily the product of oil politics, but the founding of israel is going to become another wedge between independent oilmen, many coming out of highly evangelical churches who believe israel is important to prophecy. they are going to champion israel, in general terms. this is going to work against major oil initiatives to open up saudi arabia and work with arab states in that region. this, too, if unintentionally, is going to become a wedge and ultimately another victory for wildcat oil. a third, really important
trigger, an important political pivot takes place, something we had just started to wrestle with, that is the tidelands controversy, which unfolds in stages between 1946 and 1952. it is president truman who will claim offshore resources for the federal government. this will go back and forth in the courts between federal and state interest. who controls the resources offshore, right? whether it is in california, texas, louisiana. this becomes a key battleground between the government and the states. 1948, the election, we see the state's right party formed, the dixiecrats. many historians will look to this as the first breaking of the southern democratic party
and its hold on the south. this is interpreted as an effort by southern white democrats to protect white racial privilege in the south. this is when truman is trying to desegregate the military and trying to promote again legislation against jim crow. it was also an issue of oil -- who gets to hold the oil? the state rights party was very much in favor of the state maintaining control of their oil. all of this leading to 1952, really an important election in which eisenhower will, with the republican party, support those in texas and california who see offshore oil or minerals in general as belonging to the state. texas, as you will recall from
our debate, was adamant they needed to hold on to control of their oil because it was funding what kind of institutions? right, schools. this is an issue of fuel and family values. if you take away of our oil, we will not be able to support our schools. this was dear to texans, and eisenhower knows that and will stand for states rights. as a result, well marshall texans into the republican camp. one of the first important moves of the republican party in the south. he will win the election in 1952. briefly, this is not just a political battle playing out, but this is a cultural one. it is something we can return to in the next class. who is watching "giant," the movie?
one of the most important movies about oil in the 1950's. as we will see, very negative in its view of oil. james dean plays the main character. basically, he is swept up in oil fever and loses his morals on the way, until he basically collapses. this is a morality tale about how big oil steals the soul of americans. at the very same time, those in churches are supporting wildcat oil in their own terms by creating alternative images. one of the most popular movies circulated through churches in the early 1950's is one called "oil town usa," produced by a movie company that is aligned
with this individual. does anyone know who that is? a famous evangelist, preacher. billy graham, does that name ring a bell? billy graham, as you see here, friend of eisenhower. he will help bring the influence of the church behind the eisenhower campaign in 1952. billy graham is a friend of texas oil, especially wildcatters. especially people like sid richardson, who got his start in the east texas fields. his movie company is going to create this movie called "oiltown usa." it shows oil's dark side, but it also shows how this one oilman, called lance manning, is able to, by accepting christianity, redeem oil, redeem its money, and use its money to support christian causes. again, kind of a reversal of what we are going to encounter in "giant." the point being, it is not just
a political effort, but an industry formed around the ethics of wildcat christianity, that is going to have a real important influence in the years to come. all right. any questions? let's pause now. and as we have made our way into the 1950's, i want to give you a snapshot of two important initiatives that take root in the 1950's. we can talk about religion and culture. we can talk about some key political pivots. they are all important. the bottom line is economics. in the 1950's, we see both independent and major oil looking ways to buttress their own corporate survival at this time. i would like to give you a
snapshot of two important initiatives. both of which, but especially the first one, aramco, we will discuss at length on wednesday. these are economic initiatives that demonstrate the entanglements of religion with oil and the politics and global initiatives that are going to arise from that combination. the first of these is aramco, this takes us back to william eddy and the arab agenda of the 1950's. as we saw, with accelerated interest, american oil exploration will take place in the early 1930's, 1940's. formalized in 1945. in the years that followed, chevron and texaco will send their workers to saudi arabia to work for a company that is now
called, as of 1944, aramco. the arabian american oil company, the name itself arabianing an american joint partnership in an epic venture. luce and rockefeller's mission, humanitarianism, and development will take place on a global scale. aramco becomes the experiment of that vision. wednesday we will look at a segment which in many ways romanticizes aramco. i'm going to lean to the glowing side today to give you a sense of the cultural exchanges that take place. suffice to say, there are some darker facets of the story. the oppression of labor, racial dynamics that take place in aramco that raise serious
questions about this initiative. this is an internationalist venture, but in many ways, and it is an imperialist one. we will talk about that wednesday. for our purposes here, what is impressive, from top to bottom, executive down to the level of the worker, the ways in which the rockefeller's vision of crude filters down. william eddy has a lot to do with it. after helping navigate this terrain in 1945, the meeting with saudi arabia and president roosevelt, will join the state department. he will help form the cia. he will be one of the important visionaries of the cia. in fact, some of his reporting on the middle east will have traction within the cia. for instance, in one of his
early assessments of the middle east, he will warn that religious fundamentalism will grow with continued u.s. support of israel. the question of israel will be front and center. in the 1950's, he will serve as a consultant for aramco. he will bring this arabist vision, a commitment to the cause of arabs in the middle east. not just a commitment, but a deep your earning to bring the middle east into conversation and union with the west. through, for instance, an appreciation of language, of religious tradition, of islam itself. this is the partnership he wants to form. he is going to do so through the very operations of aramco itself, encouraging aramco to be the vanguard of this vision. it is one that if you look at kind of the diaries and sources that tell the sources of aramco workers, quite impressive how
integrated this enterprise was. for interest, a geologist who did not necessarily work for aramco, worked for standard oil and other parts of the world, you read through his diaries and you encounter a man who is approaching his work as one of discovery for oil itself. but also, one of discovering the world. he wants the world to talk back to him. he does see the world in very theological terms, as well. a geologist pictured in the front corner here. forced to go out in the rugged terrains of saudi arabia. the way in which you break the ice and the way you first find oil is to first come to terms and to exchange ideas about the world itself. about god, itself. in many ways, the geologist becomes the frontline of discovery on many terrains.
an engineer executive, thomas barger, a very devout catholic, is throughout his leadership find ways to encourage these types of interactions in aramco's offices and camps between catholics, protestants, and muslims. all this has to take place in a very informal, unofficial way. because of rules by saudi arabia that prohibit religious expression of the sort. nevertheless he finds ways for these exchanges to take place. he will also help many catholic aramco workers be invested in the number of philanthropies geared toward the middle east. not to mention, george rentz is in charge of communications. he is a scholar, a child of a
missionary. he is someone very committed to making aramco champion the vision passed down to them from william eddy. even workers like grant butler, a jack of all trades, who will work his way to saudi arabia and find himself working in the fields. literally on the drill sites, encounter workers of other faiths. he will interact with indian-arab employees, which will lead him to read the koran over dinners with italians. the gospels will be read. when muslim drillers protest they are not getting enough time to pray, he decides to join them by protesting, praying, and reading scriptures. when they pray, he reads scriptures. this would perhaps be a surprise to a lot of historians. there is reason to be skeptical
of some of the activities of aramco at this time. nevertheless, on the ground level, there is a remarkable opportunity here for a new kind of cosmopolitanism to develop. evidences of this -- it is ofzing, kind of this time civil religion and crude, that sees development, modernization. the celebration of family values, children themselves become quite significant, if symbolically here, children of aramco workers working with children of arab aramco workers as a point of exchange. bedouin leaders counseling boy scouts on how to read the terrain. meanwhile, arab workers gather on camps surrounding mosques. american workers gathering in
suburban-like subdivisions. all of this, part and parcel of this vision. politics of this will matter, too. saudi arabia and the united states will become an important partner by the late 1950's. dwight eisenhower, a friend to wildcatters in 1952. he continues to nurture this relationship with major oil. this will take on real importance in the late 1950's in the aftermath of the suez canal crisis, which will come up in our discussion wednesday. i need to bring saudi arabia into partnership with the united states. and it to frame this not simply as political or economic interest, although those two interests are front and center, but to create a sense of
community and belonging between the two nations. how to do that? by emphasizing shared faith. monotheism becomes a glue. when we talk about the 1950's, historians often talk about the effort made by eisenhower and religious leaders to frame americans from the protestant, catholic, jews coming together to create the new american way. this is how we will fight communism, by being united in our faith in one god. what we often forget, islam itself was included, at least by some, in that formula. dwight eisenhower wants to frame this. in this effort, he reaches out to the saudi king.
his own reverend, the pastor of washington's presbyterian church, a devout arabist, intellectual, theologian, will become a crucial liaison in the middle east. he will encourage educational exchange programs again all in an effort to make this alliance substantive and lasting. this, in many ways, is capped off by a visit to the saudi king in 1957 to washington, d.c., upon which several points are agreed upon. the united states promises military support for saudi arabia, continued economic development through the likes of aramco. but also, agreement of this sort, which speaks both to the economic but also spiritual side of things. that saudi arabia, by virtue of its spiritual, geographical , and economic position is of vital importance in the middle
east. it is in the interest of world peace that the kingdom be strengthened for the maintenance of its own stability and safeguarding a progressive development of its institutions. this is the vision that eisenhower wants to articulate and shore up in the late 1950's. it will be a difficult vision to hold onto, as the politics of the 1960's begins to unfold, as israel becomes a more serious question within middle eastern politics. it is going to fracture before it can really take root, this very vision. the second landscape takes us far away from saudi arabia, canada. those of you who need a refresher in geography, alberta is just above montana. next to british columbia. even as major oil is extending its reach and discovering
mammoth fields in saudi arabia, independent oilmen are anxious to find domestic reserves. the conundrum is, they cannot afford to operate on a global stage, they cannot compete. they have to find their domestic reserves. as we saw in films and politics, they want to celebrate their own efforts as virtuous american frontier initiatives. they are the quintessential american capitalists. it is all well and good to sell that image, but they need an economic base. important breakthroughs occur in 1947 that is going to give them hope. the first is a discovery offshore of the gulf of mexico. kerr was the one-time governor and senator of oklahoma, robert kerr.
he is partnered with mcgee in an oil company. they're going to make the first offshore discovery, the flotilla of materials pulled together from old world war ii vessels. they prove you can find oil offshore, which is why the tidelands issue will become critical. the second is defined in 1947 in leduc, alberta, south of edmonton. it turns out, alberta has has oil, as well. why is this important? alberta has proximity. it is known for being the texas of canada, similar politics and similar religious culture. so it becomes immediately a haven for the wildcat ethic. independent oilmen can align themselves with alberta in its
ventures. alberto's own premier, i will ensure this in a minute, will be important to that. ernest manning is the premier of alberta, a fiercely independent politician. also, a devout, evangelical christian. he sees in leduc, the chance to sell his product as the alternative to saudi arabia. we do not need to go to saudi arabia, america can become to bowl in partnering with alberta. -- become very comfortable in partnering with alberta. the more daunting and promising in terms of scale, alberta projects is this, you see pictured here. this is what it looks like. 54,000 square miles of peet bogs, soil contained with oil. it contains an estimate of 1.7
trillion barrels of vitamin. one of the largest reserves in the world. it is very costly -- how to extract this while making it profitable. how to do it with the technology that will not extend more energy than it is extracted? we know full well the canadian oil sands remain very front and center in our politics. in early 1960's, this vision of a new field tantalizes someone by the name of j. howard pew, who back in philadelphia has a file on the athabasca oilsands. .e keeps pulling it out in the early 1950's, he says sunoco will invest in this, to the tune of one quarter billion dollars. it is the largest private investment in canada up to that point. he is going to start slowly to envision development of the
oilsands. he is going to have a partner, a like-minded partner, in earnest the premiernning, of alberta. he is equally devout as j. howard pew in his the elegy, politics, wildcat, capitalist views. here is a quote from one of his own testimonies -- alberta is the great, oil-producing province of canada. every time i see an oil well and a pump going up and down, i say someday that well will be pumped dry, but there a crew that will never run dry, one that will flow forever and ever. we should be anxious for people to know about oil. the oil which in the lamp of god's word chines alike across the darkness of god's world so that men may find their way to jesus christ, the one alone who can save and solve their problems whatever they may be. he himself is a preacher turned politician, someone that can weave back and forth through the
metaphors of oil in scripture. someone who truly sees this venture of oil as related to his province, happening in millennialist terms, it is a new future. this vision brings them into partnership with j. howard pew. it is not a completely even or kind of balanced relationship. initially, the alberta government is quite wary of a large american oil company taking over its oil. there is going to be a process of negotiation that takes place into the 1960's. pew christens this construction project in 1963. over the next few months, there is a back-and-forth of negotiating authority between the government and the company, not coincidentally, j. howard pew and ernest manning will meet with billy graham.
billy graham helped ease and nurture the relationship between these two men. it is not a coincidence, that as their relationship becomes stronger, the relationship between the government and the company itself becomes stronger. what happens then is by 1967, after four years, 3000 workers laboring around the clock, we see this $235 million investment come online. its initial opening is a revival service with hymns, prayers, songs and a wildcatters pledge. natureovides man against during the risk of financial sources and the fascinating story. it is pioneering and fascinating more than one respect. as we wrap up, this brings us to another important political turning point in the 1960's, which we will get to next week.
suffice to say, both independents and majors both have much to look forward to as they move into the 1960's. there was no denying that is as much as alberta would like to be talked about alongside saudi arabia, it does not come close to the juggernaut that saudi arabia is. its major field as of 1962 1958 producing one billion billion strongnd to that point. aramco is proving itself to be an economic juggernaut. but it is also proving to be incredibly successful and expansive and its of modernization and development. the vision that was bestowed on it by its first leaders. we see schools and scholarship being provided by aramco. scholarships for american nursing students in beirut. schools for girls, built-in two
locations. by 1960, thanks to aramco support, and the saudi government, we see the eradication of malaria. this is a multifaceted initiative taking place. leadership is also starting to shift. 1959, two saudis join the board of directors. this is going to begin the process of saudi arabia taking higher stakes of the company. by 1973, the saudi government will have 25%. by 1980, it will have complete control over aramco, and it will be a saudi company. this is the future, one that seems rather bright in 1960. but of course, there is this organization called opec formed in 1960. that is going to transform the politics of saudi arabia, along with iraq, iran, venezuela.
that is going to raise tensions in the 1960's, leading to the 1967 war with israel, and 1973 war, as well. all which is going to fracture what was once this unified vision. it is benefiting ultimately the independent oilman who also see their futures in the 1960's and positive light. snapshots we can look forward to, 1964 the republican party will really shift. the control of it will shift to the wildcatters of the southwest. anyone recall who the gop candidate will be in 1964? barry goldwater. who will he defeat in the republican primaries? nelson rockefeller. in many ways, the politics of oil working its way into the politics of the republican party. rising importance of the oilmen
on the domestic front. when chaos disrupts globally and disrupts american abilities to extract oil from abroad, domestic reserves in alberta and alaska offshore are all going to become much more important, raising the importance of the independent oilmen. that is what we are going to see in the economics of this. the oilsands project will continue to develop. a total of 178 billion barrels estimated at that point. as we mentioned earlier, this is the keystone pipeline, which is still very much a hot button issue for us, designed to take oil from the athabasca fans, down to the gulf coast. this is a long-term vision and there will be a much more involved culture war of politics in the 1970's in which family values and fuel values are all going to combine to intensify and polarize the american
political landscape. ok, this is bringing us to the end. we will have time for conversation on wednesday. bring your questions with you on wednesday. please also look at the excerpt from walter stegner and we will talk a little more about toronto wednesday. aramco wednesday. thank you. have a good day. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> you're watching american history to the, 48 hours of programming on c-span3. follow us on twitter on c-span3 for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. >> c-span -- where history unfolds daily. c-span was created as a
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